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American Rivers v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

ELR Citation: 29 ELR 21053
Nos. 98-70347, 170 F.3d 896/(9th Cir., 03/16/1999)

The court dismisses environmental groups' petition to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) refusal to initiate an Endangered Species Act (ESA) §7(a)(2) consultation regarding its ongoing regulatory authority over a power company's Hells Canyon complex in Idaho. The court first holds that it lacks jurisdiction over the petition. Appellate jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act is dependent on the issuance of an order by FERC. Here, FERC failed to respond to the groups' request to initiate ESA consultation procedures, and mere inaction by FERC cannot be transmuted by the groups into an order. Thus, FERC's notice rejecting the groups' request for rehearing does not qualify as a reviewable order. The court, therefore, dismisses the petition for review without prejudice.

Counsel for Petitioners
Todd D. True
Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund
705 Second Ave., Ste. 203, Seattle WA 98104
(206) 343-7340

Counsel for Respondent
John S. Katz
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
825 N. Capitol St. NE, Washington DC 20426
(202) 208-0200

Before Kleinfeld, Hawkins, and Schwarzer,* JJ.